As I’ve been saying a lot around here lately, I don’t turn on the oven, or even the stove, in the heat of summer without a solid reason. It’s been HOT, people. Why mess with that? Well. One reason to mess with that is a crostata, also called a galette or even a rustic tart. Rustic means that the ratio of effort to payoff is just right for summer. A crostata is the culinary equivalent of, let’s say, perfect jeans and a white button-down. Timeless and effortlessly chic. Makes you look like you care just enough. Which you do.
Crostata dough is, at its essence, a delicious shovel for the seasonal ingredients overrunning your fridge and countertop. Sweet or savory. Think stone fruit. Think tomatoes. Think chard. It’s hard to go wrong as long as you season aggressively and avoid an excess of moisture.
What you see here is the result of some slight overexuberance at the weekly farmers’ market. Maybe I showed up hungry. Maybe a NJ August just excites me. Maybe I have a hopeless crush on vegetables. Definitely I do. It’s love/hate, though, when the greens threaten a hostile takeover of the kitchen. A crostata is a way to regain control of your life. Just like that effortlessly chic version of yourself would do.
The combination of chard laced with the slightest bit of balsamic, cheese and olives, and corn in a buttery half whole-wheat crust hits all the right notes. Super-savory, a little bit earthy, a little bit sweet. Just indulgent enough, and packed with goodness too.
That’s exactly how summer should be.
Here’s a little video I made to show the initial dough-making process. Hope you like it. Talk to you soon.
Makes one large crostata that serves at 4-6 people. (Okay, I just saw that typo but kinda like the aggressiveness of serving something AT someone, so imma leave it.) Watch the very short video above for some dough-making protips.
Place the flours into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand with some larger pea-sized pieces.
Add 2 tablespoons of the water and process for a moment. Test to see if the dough holds together when you squeeze a bit with your hand. If not, add the remaining water and process again.
Use your hands to quickly form the dough into a ball. Then flatten into a disk between two approximately 14-inch square pieces of parchment paper. Wrap in the parchment and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to 2 days) before proceeding.
Chard Crostata (Galette) with Corn, Taleggio and Olives
Here's a special-feeling but nice and easy way to use up lots of summer produce and get your greens at the same time.
1 recipe crostata dough, above
20 (or so) large chard leaves
2 medium leeks
4 cloves garlic
3 ears corn
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 ounces Taleggio cheese
15 Moroccan oil-cured olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Splash of milk or cream
Salt and pepper
Remove dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 400° F with a rack in the center.
Wash and dry the chard leaves well. Remove stems and save for another use. Chop leaves into ribbons or large bite-sized pieces. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and trim off the roots and dark green parts. Wash well, then cut into thin crosswise slices. Finely chop the garlic. Remove the kernels from the corn cobs and reserve the cobs to make soup. (Recipe coming soon.)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic, along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chard by the handful as it fits in the pan and cook until wilted. Add the corn kernels and cook for two minutes more, stirring once or twice. Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar.
By now the dough should be soft enough to roll out. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on each side of the dough and then replace the parchment. Using a rolling pin and turning the dough a quarter-turn clockwise every so often, roll the dough out between the parchment into a 14-inch circle (which should be about the same size as the parchment sheets themselves. Remove the top sheet of parchment and slide the dough (still on the bottom sheet of parchment) onto a pizza pan or baking sheet.
Brush a little bit of olive oil over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch ring around the outer edge. Sprinkle all but the outside ring of dough with half the Pecorino cheese and some freshly ground black pepper. Tear the Taleggio into small pieces, rind and all, and dot the surface of the dough with half of them, reserving the other half. Do the same with half the chopped olives.
Spread the chard mixture onto the dough, still leaving an outer ring. Top with the other half of the Taleggio, olives and Pecorino.
Fold the outer ring of dough over the chard mixture in 6 to 8 roughly equal sections, pressing gently at the pleats to stick them together. This is a rustic tart that definitely doesn't have to be perfect, so don't worry too much.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with the splash of milk or cream to make an egg wash. Brush the dough with some of the egg wash. (You'll have lots leftover, but I've yet to come up with a way to start with less than a whole egg. Scramble it if you like.)
Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through if you remember to ensure even cooking. Slice into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.